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Bullbars restricted

The Sunday Telegraph

Sunday 22 September 2002

By ROD SMITH


BULLBARS will have to be low profile and contour-hugging under new design rules set to be released by Standards Australia.

The Sunday Telegraph has obtained a confidential copy of the new official standard for "motor vehicle front protection systems" which is yet to be released.

Under the standard, which was finalised on Monday, all old-style bullbar designs will be outlawed.

"A (bullbar) shall have a profile that generally conforms to the shape, in plan view, front view and side view, of the front of the vehicle to which it is fitted," the document says.

The new standard, which will not be retrospective, will mean an end to all "Mad Max-style" bullbars, which are more likely to kill or maim pedestrians.

The Pedestrian Council of Australia applauded the new design standard but said the initiative did little to remove existing dangerous bullbars from the road.

"There are still going to be those bullbars that protrude forward and push pedestrians under the wheels," said Pedestrian Council chairman Harold Scruby.

The council called for the NSW Government to phase out the old bullbars - forcing owners to replace them with the new designs - within three years.

"What we need now is for the NSW Government and other governments to make this a prospective law," Mr Scruby said.

"That means we give people three years in which to replace their bullbar with one that complies with the new standards."

Research by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau has found that bullbars are involved in up to 20 per cent of fatal pedestrian accidents.

Existing NSW law prohibits bullbars from having fishing rod holders and spotlights and any sharp or ragged edges.

But old-style bullbars - which protrude from the vehicle - are permitted.

Earlier this year the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority told The Sunday Telegraph it would ensure all new bullbars complied with the new Australian Standard when the rules were introduced.